I reviewed my nupp posts, and found they are lacking. I’m fixing this mistake now, and make you a proper nupp stitch knitting tutorial. Welcome to the wonderful world of Estonian lace 🙂
You will learn:
- what is a nupp stitch and why would one need it;
- main mistakes when working on nupps + solutions;
- three main techniques how to make nupps + their differences;
Note, that I’m not the one who will tell you that there is one way, and ONLY ONE WAY of doing things. This is not the way my grandmother taught me, and this is not the way I will teach you. If you do something differently, then it doesn’t mean you are doing it wrong – it just means you are doing it differently.
Now that I have given you my disclaimer, let’s begin.
Why bother with nupp stitch?
My grandmother told me that nupps were used because of the development of knitting machines. Estonian lace shawls were “high-end” products, while the machine knits were cheap mock-ups (this is how things should be now too…anyway…). First class ladies were looking for hand knitted shawls, and using nupps was the only way to prove that the shawl was knitted by hand – machines couldn’t do such a thing.
You may wonder, why nupp stitch – why not baubles or some similar knitting technique? You could use some other technique, as long as you knit with a bit thicker yarn than the traditional “cobweb” lace yarn Estonians use. Other techniques will be too “heavy” for delicate Estonian lace shawls though, because the yarn is so thin, and the shawl is so airy.
What is a nupp stitch?
In essence, nupp stitch is a block of alternating “knit” and “yarn over” stitches worked into one stitch, and then knitted together again. That’s all this is. What makes this technique so challenging is the knitting together part.
My grandmother showed me three basic ways how to do nupp stitch, and I’ll show them to you in a minute. Before that, I would like to address three main mistakes people make when working on their nupps, so you can keep an eye on that.
Now that you know what to look out for, you can start practicing. Like I said before, nupp stitch is a block of alternating “knit” and “yarn over” stitches worked into one stitch, and then knitted together again. Difference in techniques is WHEN you are knitting those stitches together.
Here’s what I mean…
(click on the headline for the picture tutorial)
this is the tech I usually use in my own patterns, it will give you over-the-top fluffy look;
You will work your “knits” and “yarn overs”, and as soon as you’ve done that, you’ll knit everything together (click here for the tutorial).
For example, here I used nupp tech #1 – see how fluffy these nupps are:
this is the tech to use in traditional Estonian lace;
First, on the right-side row, work your “knits” and “yarn overs” where needed (do not knit together), and continue with your pattern. Work the wrong-side row until your nupp stitches, and purl everything together (click here for the tutorial).
For example, Lilac Time Shawl I knitted – using this tech your nupps will show up, but they are not “in-your-face”, if you know what I mean:
this is the tech for framing some pattern you want to emphasize because these nupps are oblong, like stretched;
Do your thing with “knits” and “yarn overs”, and move on. On the wrong-side row, work your way to the nupp stitches, holding yarn in front of the work slip all the nupp stitches on to the right hand needle, and move on. On your next right-side row, work until you reach your nupp stitches, and knit everything together (click here for the tutorial).
Now you know more than an average knitter. You know what are nupps, why they came to be, main mistakes, and techniques for making one. There’s nothing else to do than practice 🙂